Community Forum Recap

Thank you to the nearly 50 parents, staff and residents who attended the Community Forum on Monday night. I thought the discussions surrounding the 2017-2018 budget, the state legislature’s proposal for property tax reform and the county’s reassessment process were constructive and informative. As an epilogue, I want to summarize our presentations and discuss some of the concerns raised during the forum.

Suggestions for Property Tax Reform

I have discussed property tax reform a few times now, including sharing the district’s concerns about how it will diminish local control and unfairly shift the tax burden from commercial entities to individuals. However, I think it is important to not only discuss our concerns with the proposal, but also to offer some suggestions that could assist with the problems that lawmakers say are driving the demand for reform. While we recognize that some of these ideas would require major changes in law, we believe that the legislature should explore all available options.

Meet CV’s Next Superintendent: Dr. Zuilkoski

Last week, the Conestoga Valley School Board announced that they will be voting on the next superintendent, Dr. David Zuilkoski, at their March 13 meeting. I’ve invited “Dr. Z” to introduce himself a little to the CV community.

Hello CV! I am Dr. Dave Zuilkoski, but you can call me Dr. Z. I am humbled and excited about the opportunity to be your next superintendent! First and foremost, I would like to thank Dr. Huesken for his graciousness in offering me the chance to be a guest blogger on his site. While I will be spending the next few months getting to know everyone, I wanted to take the time to share a little bit about myself.

Studying Our Pre-K Options

Pre-K-PhotoConestoga Valley School District is currently in its last year of its Keystones to Opportunity grant, which allows the district to partner with Steps to Success, Inc., to provide tuition-free Pre-Kindergarten classes to qualifying children in the CV area. With the program in its final year, I invited our Director of Elementary Education, Dr. Kelly Cartwright, to speak a little more about our goal to continue these kinds of partnerships.

Some Thoughts on the Governor’s Budget

BudgetEducation leaders across the state welcomed Governor Wolf’s budget proposal on Tuesday with its $100 million increase in state funding for basic education as well as a $25 million increase for special education. The governor’s proposal would mean Conestoga Valley would receive 5.9% more in state funding for the 2017-2018 school year, the highest percentage increase in the state.

Property Tax Reform

PropertyTaxesSenate Bill 76 is back in the news again, and this time it is being reported that the state Senate has the necessary votes to pass it. The bill, known as the Property Tax Independence Act, promises to end all school property taxes in Pennsylvania.

A Tough Budget Ahead

Costs vs Act 1 IndexOnce again, Conestoga Valley is facing a tough budget for the upcoming school year. At their last meeting, the board passed two resolutions: One to apply for exceptions that would allow CV to increase the tax rate above the limit set by the Commonwealth and another to advertise the preliminary budget. The board will vote on the preliminary budget proposal at its February meeting.

Conestoga Valley Gives Back

Leola Elementary donates change in the "Jingle Boot" to the Upper Leacock Fire Department.

Leola Elementary donates change in the “Jingle Boot” to the Upper Leacock Fire Department.

We’re just over halfway through the first month of the year, but before we leave 2016 completely behind, I want to acknowledge all of the ways our students and staff reached out to the community over the past few months. Students from every school and every grade level gave back this recent holiday season, helping people in need here at home and around the world.